State officials in Georgia have signed a contract to pay a
consortium of private firms $38.5 million to
study and design additional lanes in the Atlanta area to combat the city’s
The deal with Georgia Transportation Partners is the first
to be signed under the state’s Public-Private Initiative law.
Since 2004, Georgia has been trying to work public-private
contracts into its road-building efforts, and the Department of Transportation reported
success on Friday, May 19, when officials signed the deal to expand Interstates
75 and 575.
The project could include truck-only toll lanes and
high-occupancy lanes for people who want to pay tolls to avoid other congested
In 2004 it was estimated that the expansion project would
cost $1.8 billion, according to the DOT. The cost estimate will be reworked
under the new agreement.
The $38.5 million contract signed last week calls for
Georgia Transportation Partners to conceptualize and design the project and
conduct traffic studies.
Goldman Sachs is reported to be interested in investing in
truck-only toll lanes on I-285 between I-75 and I-20, and on I-20 from Perimeter Road to Thornton Road, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Other public-private partnerships being considered in the
state include the possible tolling of Georgia Highway 316 and the addition of
high-occupancy toll lanes to Georgia Highway 400.
By David Tanner, staff writer